In the NBA, anytime is a good time to bring up the MVP conversation. Yes, that includes a one-game sample, especially since recent bias is prevalent and hot takes come in bunches.

The likes of reigning MVP Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Shai Gilegeous-Alexander have often been brought up, but one name deserves to be included in this special group: Jayson Tatum.

Right now, the Boston Celtics continue to be humming along in the 2023-2024 regular season with Tatum at the helm.

At 41-12, Tatum and the Celtics have the best record in the NBA and will continue to do so heading into the All-Star break. Wins only tell part of the story, as momentum is clearly on their side following their season series sweep over the Miami Heat.

Tatum led all scorers with 26 points and nearly had a triple-double with his 10 rebounds and nine assists. With Jimmy Butler taking a leave of absence due to a death in the family, Tatum had an easier time breaking down the defense and either attacking the paint or dishing it out to an open teammate.  Overall, it was a midrange masterclass the opened the floodgates for the rest of his game and that of his Boston teammates.


The Heat and the Celtics have frequently faced one another in the postseason and that has led to some emotionally charged games even in the regular season. However, Boston has constantly had their number this year, and regardless of Miami’s current situation, the Celtics will take it as they focus on themselves. 

Tatum has figured heavily in these games and has experienced the joys and the sorrows in the last few years. As time went on, however, he was able to exert more control and while the 110-106 victory was a team effort, much of it came due to Tatum’s influence.

Boston’s last NBA Finals appearance also came at the expense of the Heat, but all of that began with a strong showing after the All-Star break. That kind of momentum-generating run is something the Celtics would need to not only secure Boston a favorable playoff path, but also allow them to develop good habits that would serve them well in testy moments.

For Tatum, it’s about continuing to balance his scoring with playmaking because once the postseason approaches, defenses become more stingy and as such, spacing becomes critical. How he navigates through these next few months could create a narrative that could see him earn some hardware for his efforts.

Jayson Tatum has firmly entrenched himself in the MVP conversation this season, but we all know what matters more to him at this point is the success that comes in June. The work towards that begins now and a strong regular season will give him the momentum to take the Boston Celtics much closer to that elusive 18th NBA title.